The Second Formation of Islamic Law

with Guy Burak

hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir

Download the episode

Within the historiography, major shifts and developments in schools of thought and legal interpretation have dominated the narrative of how Islamic law has spread and transformed across time. However, as our guest Guy Burak argues in his new monograph, The Second Formation of Islamic Law, structural changes in the relationship between state, society, and law are also an important part of this story. In this episode, Dr. Burak explains how law transformed under post-Mongol Islamicate empires such as the Ottomans through changes in the ways these states claimed legal authority.

Stream via Soundcloud

Guy Burak is the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Librarian at NYU's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. He is the author of The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2015). (see

Chris Gratien is a graduate of the doctoral program at Georgetown University's Department of History. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see

Nir Shafir is a doctoral candidate at UCLA focusing on the history of knowledge and science in the early modern Middle East. He also runs the website HAZİNE, which profiles different archives, libraries, and museums that house sources on the Islamic world. (see

Episode No. 199
Release date: 4 September 2015
Location: RCAC, Istanbul
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Bibliography courtesy of Guy Burak
Music excerpts via and Free Music Archive: Murat Kenarinda (Egin Havasi) - Agyazar Efendi; Karaköy Balık Pazarı (Chris Gratien); Muzaffer Akgun - Ha Bu Diyar; Podington Bear


Guy Burak, The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Richard C. Repp, The Müfti of Istanbul: A Study in the Development of the Ottoman Learned Hierarchy (London: Ithaca Press, 1986).

Abdurrahman Atcil, “The Formation of the Ottoman Learned Class and Legal Scholarship (1300–1600)” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2010).

Colin Imber, Ebuʾs-Suʿud: The Islamic Legal Tradition (Stanford, CA : Stanford University Press , 1997 ) ;

Rudolph Peters, “What Does It Mean to Be an Official Madhhab? Hanafism and the

Ottoman Empire,” in The Islamic School of Law: Evolution, Devolution, and Progress, ed. Peri Baerman , Rudolph Peters , and Frank E. Vogel (Cambridge, MA: Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, distributed by Harvard University Press, 2005), 147–58

Snjezana Buzov, “The Lawgiver and His Lawmakers: The Role of Legal Discourse in the Change of Ottoman Imperial Culture” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2005);

Haim Gerber, State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective ( Albany : State University of New York , 1994 ) .

Martha Mundy and Richard Saumarez-Smith, Governing Property, Making the Modern State: Law, Administration, and Production in Ottoman Syria (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007), esp. chs. 2-3.

Judith E. Tucker, In the House of the Law: Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).


Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.